How Does Travel Improve My Writing?
If you are reading this blog, chances are you are considering a study abroad program to improve your writing. But why? What are the benefits of study abroad programs? What does travel offer that is essential to the development of healthy writing life? Whether you’re a fiction writer or a poet, travel has the power improve your craft while providing inspiration that might be lacking in your day-to-day experiences.
Breaking Bad Habits
Some writers say they rely on ritual for inspiration. “I have to write at this desk.” “I can only write at night,” or “I have to write in the morning.” In other words, I must obey my muse and these are the terms of our agreement. The problem with rituals is they don’t require the writer to discover anything new about themselves. A ritual might lead to useful, reflective moments, but often writers find themselves unable to explore new ideas or concepts if rituals provide too much comfort. When you travel, you reduce your ability to cling to the comfort of ritual. You don’t have the same old desk, the same old chair—you don’t even have the same old you, as constructed by the perspectives of those you encounter most. Travel abroad provides writers with unique opportunities to investigate new cultures, reexamine their comfort zones, and thoughtfully engage in new social situations that call for an awareness of language and communication that helps redefine our positions as global citizens. The result?
Challenge, Creativity, and Intimacy
Something beautiful happens when we travel. Our imaginations take over; our creativity gets a jolt that seems to keep the writing coming. When we encounter new sensory experiences, we increase our chances of heightened creative productivity. Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your time abroad:
- Pay close attention to what you taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. You must truly fall in love with the details.
- Talk to new people. The more friendships you develop, the better!
- Enjoy the local cuisine. If you haven’t heard of it, try it.
- Get off the beaten path. Explore the roads less traveled. If you have made friends with members of the local community, ask them for recommendations (or to come along).
No matter where your travels take you, your writing life is sure to follow.